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Lisa Ong

PhD Candidate 

Lisa is interested in drawing connections, finding what shapes the diversity and structure of the tropical forests. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, her research investigates the ecological functions of Asian elephants.

While we monitored the fruiting phenology of the Royal Belum rainforest, our team members work like little forest detectives, collecting discrete evidence of seed dispersal (teeth marks on fruits, seeds in dung, camera trapping of fruit baits) in this hyper-diverse forest where elephants still roam. Combining field studies, the local indigenous people’s knowledge, and ecological network analysis, Lisa explored (1) the seed dispersal network structure of a tropical rainforest community, while (2) examining how elephants fit in this network.

Following on from the seed dispersal function, she also looked at how these mega-herbivores influence closed-canopy forest structures. Through herbivory observations and measurements of damaged plants, we were able to generalize both (3) the diet of elephants and (4) the damage they imposed on foraged plots.

Throughout her research period, she strives to provide an understanding of the importance of ecological interactions to biological conservation.

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